News & Politics

Racism Scholar Ibram X. Kendi Is Leaving American University

The author of bestselling book How to Be an Antiracist is one of the school's biggest stars.

At a moment when American University professor Ibram X. Kendi‘s book How to Be an Antiracist is selling out around the country, Boston University has announced that Kendi will be joining the school on July 1 as a professor and will establish the BU Center for Antiracist Research at the university. Kendi’s Antiracist Research and Policy Center had been based at AU, where he was also a professor.

“The creation of the BU Center for Antiracist Research and the addition of Dr. Kendi to our faculty are important steps forward for the University,” the school wrote in a press release. “While conversations about these developments have been underway for months, the need for work in this area has become even more visible in recent days, as we have all experienced painful reminders of the persistence of racism and racial inequities in our society.”

Kendi has been one of the key voices during the recent protests over police brutality, with How to Be an Antiracist currently sitting at No. 4 on the Amazon bestseller list.

When we interviewed him last fall, Kendi talked about the impact his book had been having:

Quite a few people have contacted me privately or publicly and told me they were really moved by the book to reflect on their own ideas. There was an 83-year-old white woman who came up to me after an event. She had just read the book and said she didn’t realize the ways in which for eight decades she had been raised to be racist—it’s only now that she’s beginning to reflect on herself and change. For somebody that age to confess that and to begin the process of changing themselves, that was moving to me. And if an 83-year-old can do that, the rest of us should be able to do it, too.

Politics and Culture Editor

Rob Brunner grew up in DC and moved back in 2017 to join Washingtonian. Previously, he was an editor and writer at Fast Company and other publications. He lives with his family in Chevy Chase DC.